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AOL Time Warner to fall from Web index

The Dow Jones Internet Index plans to drop America Online from its lineup once the company's merger with Time Warner is completed.

    America Online won't be an official Web stock for much longer.

    The Dow Jones Internet Index plans to drop the Internet service provider from its lineup once the company's merger with Time Warner is completed. Dow Jones said that although the combined company will trade under the ticker symbol "AOL," it won't be eligible for the Internet Index because most of its revenue will come from the non-Web operations of Time Warner.

    The stock will be replaced on the Internet Index by Cambridge, Mass.-based Art Technology Group. AOL Time Warner, as the combined company will be called, will appear instead in the Dow Jones Global Index Entertainment industry group, taking the place of Time Warner.

    The merger between the two companies is expected to be completed in early 2001 once the Federal Communications Commission gives it the green light.

    The merger already has cleared the Federal Trade Commission, which approved the deal Dec. 14 in exchange for some restrictions on the way the company handles its cable system. Some of those conditions include: forcing AOL Time Warner to open its cable system to rival broadband service providers and allowing subscribers of rival ISPs equal access to Time Warner content.

    The FTC was considered the major hurdle in the merger approval process, but the FCC still could crack down on the company's plans for its instant messaging services. Customers of AOL's Instant Messenger and ICQ services can't communicate with members of messaging services owned by rivals such as Yahoo and Microsoft.

    Opponents of the closedCreating a media titan system are hoping that federal regulators will force AOL to open its IM services to people who use competing services, a move that would mean people could send messages to anyone regardless of the system they use, much as they can with email.

    In a separate announcement Tuesday, the company said it broke a previous one-day record for signing up new subscribers. AOL said it added more than 70,000 subscribers worldwide on Christmas Day, a 30 percent increase over last year. The previous one-day record was Christmas Day 1998, when the company added 44,000 new subscribers. Christmas is a popular day to sign new ISP members because people are eager to get Web access on their new computers.

    AOL has more than 26 million members.